Berlin (AFP) Dec 10, 2010
British budget airline easyJet scrapped all flights leaving from a snow-covered Berlin on Friday morning because of what it called a "serious" shortage of de-icer to make its aircraft safe to fly.
On Thursday, some 200 flights operated by all airlines were scrapped at Berlin's two main international airports, about one third of those scheduled, a spokesman said, partly for the same reason.
Air Berlin, Germany's second-biggest airline after Lufthansa, said that there had been shortages in recent days, but that the situation had returned to normal on Friday.
"We think it is a structural problem. There are only a few firms in Europe (who make de-icer), leading to shortages across Europe, which could become a problem this winter," a spokeswoman told AFP.
Swiss chemicals firm Clariant, a major supplier of de-icer, said that heavy snow so far this winter had created "high demand all over Europe" and that production was running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Everyone had quite high demand but Berlin had very high demand," said company spokeswoman Stefanie Nehlsen, adding that the situation was expected to ease there swiftly.
"We have several trucks ready to unload in Berlin," she told AFP.
Particularly wet snow was also adding to the demand, with an aircraft requiring 10 times as much de-icer -- around 1,000 litres (265 gallons) -- than dry snow, she added.
GlobeGround, which de-ices planes at the German capital's two main airports Tegel and Schoenefeld, said that manufacturers were experiencing "drastic" problems not only in delivering to airports but also in production.
"GlobeGround's de-icer stocks have fallen dramatically. There are currently nine orders for Tegel and Schoenefeld that have not been made, many of them were supposed to have come two days ago," it said.
Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, was not experiencing any shortages, however, and traffic was slowly getting back to normal after recent delays, with around 40 cancellations on Friday, a spokesman told AFP.
Heavy snow has also caused major delays on Germany's roads and railways in recent days, and fresh snow was falling in southern regions on Friday.
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It's A White Out at TerraDaily.com
Arctic blast causes European travel chaos
Paris (AFP) Dec 9, 2010
Icy roads paralysed much of the Paris region Thursday after the heaviest snow in a quarter of a century, while harsh weather in Germany hit flights and prompted major delays in rail travel. French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux asked drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary the day after 11 centimetres (more than four inches) of snow fell on Paris, the most in one day since 1987. ... read more
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